Conservatism, Conservatives, Criticism, GOP

An All in Good Fun Discussion of Erick Erickson

Erick_Erickson_by_Gage_Skidmore-460x307

By now I am sure you have seen various interviews with media commentator and professional clown porn director Erick Erickson (I am only speculating about the clown porn but I like to err on the side of caution)

Good ol’ Erick Just wanted to let the world know that wives should make their goddamn husbands a sammich right damn now because…because male baboons have bigger rear ends than female baboons…or something. I would really love to see Mr. Erickson shrunk down to the size of an insect so as to be able to give his “males are more powerful in nature” speech to a female praying mantis. “You see, the book of Acts states that women…hey…why are you eating my head? You are supposed to be subservi–”

Megyn Kelly of Fox News totally, completely and UTTERLY owned the balls of both Erickson and Lou “Smile, You’re on To Catch A Predator” Dobbs (yes, that Lou Dobbs). If you haven’t seen this beat-down I highly suggest you look it up…or i could just post it down here!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/megyn-kelly-erick-erickson-lou-dobbs_n_3367571.html

To be fair to Lou and Erick (and Juan Williams who was yukking it up with them on Fox News) their intellectual level is not quite up to the standard of a Megyn Kelly (who, full disclosure, is one of the few coherent, if not always correct, people on Fox); they are more the “dare me to have that 7th shot of Red Stag” type of public intellectuals.

Erickson has of course tried to back-pedal without actually moving an inch, but that is just his usual game. Whine about people whining about him and blame those damn pansy boys and feminazis on the left for not “understanding” his great white christian male angst complex. He has even taken to crying havoc and releasing the hounds of social networking: he responded to a tweet of mine today by messaging me back and reassuring me that “his wife and his sisters” agree with his misogynistic and and pseudo-scientific babble. Some one is intellectually desperate when they have to appeal to the “see, some of my greatest supporters are women/black people/latino day laborers” argument. Just another name to add to the “this is why our country is an enormous laughingstock” list. Goodnight and good luck…

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Conservatism, Criticism, Philosophy, Politics

On Lenin’s “Word And Deed”

LeninWriting

We are constantly making the mistake in Russia of judging the slogans and tactics of a certain party or group, of judging its general trend, by the intentions or motives that the group claims for itself. Such judgement is worthless. The road to hell—as was said long ago—is paved with good intentions.”1

                        Lenin wrote these words at a time in history that would inevitably be seen to be nearly providential by those looking back from the contemporary vantage point. In 1913The crucible of revolution had yet to boil over into the true paradigm shift that was the fall of the Russian Monarchy and capitalist structure. Today the events of that moment in time were indeed the destination found at the end of a hellish road. But we forget today, or are made to ignore the fact that history is not preordained or inevitable. Lenin wrote in this letter, Word and Deed, of very immediate and relevant social upheaval. We cannot look at this letter as a piece of self-conscious dogma; instead we must realize that Lenin is expressing a realization of political reality that is made self-evident by the events taking place around him.

The workers strike was still seen as a violation of societal doxa, a rejection of the contract written and executed from above and based upon the premise that mass civic action was a form of terrorism. Lenin makes an especial case against the liberal members of the structural orthodoxy who viewed worker organization and proletarian action as a dangerous attack on their own pursuit of “reform” within the context of the existing system. The rejection of the liberal bourgeois conception that change within a flawed system is required or preferable to the dismantling of the system through class struggle was an important step for the socialist movement in Russia and an essential signpost on the road that we are still traveling towards a more sustainable and equitable system. By accepting the claims of liberal parties and movements that they are friendly towards the proletariat socialism is undermined and indeed made heterodox. A step forward on a crooked road is not progress made towards the destination; it is for all intents and purposes a step backwards to a state of affairs intolerable to the interests of the proletariat and its aims.

For example, look at the liberal Democratic party pledge of strengthening the middle class[es] through “hope” for “change” in the system of market capitalism. But what sort of “change” can be expected when there is no rejection of underlying conditions that lead to inequality or abuse? The classic capitalist class system is upheld and even celebrated by the acceptance of a reformation of processes and laws that can only see success as the increasing stratification and separation of workers from each other. The middle class becomes a destination away from the working classes, a realm apart and a vantage point from which the anointed can look back in shame and increasing disgust at the situation of the proletariat. Lenin says that there is nothing remarkable about the upper class, governmental or conservative reactionary dismissal of proletarian needs and struggles but that “Much “newer” is the amazing indifference of the bourgeoisie”.

                Similarly the antagonism between the Democratic party and the vast and expanding ex post politico “working poor” (as the proletariat is referred to within the context of contemporary American politics) is, if not actually increasing, becoming more apparent and shocking to those who once labored under the delusion that at least one party represented a means of support for the worker. The liberal “solution” to the problems of the unequal division of wealth and exploitation of labor is simply a less violent entrance into a feedback loop that preserves the systems that create the need for such exploitation. Members of the proletariat need to come to terms with the fact that they were and are “making the mistake of […] judging the slogans and tactics of” the liberal Democratic party based on their own standards that reject the very idea that the capitalist system is something to be overcome. Indeed, Lenin goes on to say, “in many cases this indifference [on the part of the liberal factions] changes to a negative attitude” and eventually expresses itself as so much reactionary more violence against the rejection of the class constraints advocated by the Marxist philosophies and socialist parties. Lenin is correct that we must look beyond the word and to the deed when examining the intentions of those professing to be allies of the proletariat and its cause. Lenin makes it clear that in order to move the proletariat cause forward liberal conciliation with reactionary forces and capitalist institutions must  be combated as though the factions were one and the same.

 

  1. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1913/jul/16.htm
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Atheism, Criticism, Erotic, essay, Fiction, Liberty, Literature

Book Analysis: 120 Days of Sodom [Conclusion]

sadsade

Albert Camus in his classic study of the death penalty “Reflections on the Guillotine” noted how true and seemingly irredeemable evil individuals offer “impenetrable exteriors”. Like the stone walls of the castle into which they retreat the four men use the inherent positive societal prejudices about their social stations, status and wealth. Such attributes equate to an assumption of good moral behavior and standing in the mind of a society built upon the recognition and almost worship of privilege. Sade takes this supposition and takes it to its logical extreme; if  power equates to an assumption of public moral uprightness then the private attributes of the successful man are often quite the opposite. And if their means to power are unsavory then their cravings and passions must be equally if not even more wicked. All of the story telling serves to arouse and inspire the assembled men to sexual action and to illuminate for us the reader their inner most desires and debauches. Ayn Rand, often compared to Sade in her adherence to an extreme libertarian vision of morality, said

 

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.”

 

One senses a bit of self-congratulation in these remarks, and Sade’s personal ethos turns this proposition on its head. By rejecting any sort of social contract Sade is able to have his characters justify their depravity and existential greed through a sort of fatalistic atomism taken to its extreme, a system he describes in his short story Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man

           

            “Nothing perishes in the world, my friend, nothing is lost; man today, worm tomorrow […] can [God] have wished to create me in order to reap pleasure from punishing me, and that solely on account of a choice he does not leave me free to determine?”

 

Sade uses the inevitable decay and an eternal reemergence of life and matter as an excuse, for lack of a better term, for the indulgence of the grossest abuses in the name of hedonism. Life is an eternal process of indulgence and destruction wherein those who are in the best position to satiate their desires are morally right in taking any measures to do so. This looks at first glance like the sort of nihilism that Christian apologists point to as proof of the inherent iniquity of atheism and a secular morality. This could not be further from the truth of course. What Sade is rejecting is not a religious ethos (though I believe he thinks he is) but a secular one; he neglects to realize that the real arbiter of moral sanctity and order is not theocratic but human and civil. We are only accountable to our fellow human beings for our behavior and it is a human morality that is either put in place or rejected. What Sade is rejecting is not a Christian morality but a civic morality; he is embracing libertarianism in its most pure and pragmatic form. Sade’s greatest failing is not his atheism, which is actually quite reasoned and sober if divorced from the moral conclusions he erroneously uses it to justify, but his rejection of accountability to his fellow man. The answer to Sadean “morality” is not Christian morality but secular ethics and civil law. Sade himself came to understand this better during the cataclysm that was the later stages of the French Revolution.

Jejune and repetitive as some of the dialogue and plotting can the book taken as a whole is invigorating, stimulating and intellectually challenging. The characters, if not particularly deep or original, do have their own sort of utilitarian charm. But to read the 120 Days for pleasure is really to miss the point; this book is a personal mission statement, a philosophical thought experiment in the form of a novel. Sade attempted to create a moral system that transcended any then in existence. That he failed in no way detracts from the genius of the work and its relevance as a cautionary tale showing the true potential of libertarian hedonism if unleashed in a realm without the protections of the social contract. In his own perverse way Sade is as vital to the enlightenment exploration of civil rights and social law theory as is Rousseau, Ficthe or Locke. For what is the value of morality and law if we do not understand the havoc that would be wrought under the auspices of their antithesis?

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Atheism, Boycott, Chick-Fil-A, Civil rights, Criticism, extremism, Hypocrisy, LGBTQ, News, opinion, Politics, Religion, right wing

Chick-Fil-Oye: Why Christians Need to Shut The Hell Up About Being Oppressed

44 of 44 Presidents. 104 of 112 Supreme Court justices. Over 90% of all elected Congress members. A Church in every single town and neighborhood in the US. Laws that represent their morality in every state. Almost every CEO and corporate board member. 75% + of the population. These are apparently the numbers that tell the story of a repressed people. Christians. Excuse me while laugh my ass off.

Christians love to tell everyone (mostly themselves) that they are the true oppressed people in the United States. Why do they say this? Apparently because non-Christians are permitted to express their opinions. It’s like the Harlem Globe Trotters filing a formal protest with the International Basketball Federation because the Washington Generals were allowed to score a point. Where in the vast Christian wasteland that is the USA are Christians EVER repressed? When this question is asked many Christians will tell you that the answer is “everywhere, everyday”. Bullshit.

Christians suffer under the delusion that when something doesn’t go their way, even slightly, this is a sign that their Vulcan death grip on American society and government is waning. This of course means that Christianity is under siege. Gays permitted to marry in 6 states? Stalin-Redux. Muslims building one mosque in the state of Tennessee? A second 9/11. Women having their basic health care needs covered on their insurance that they work or pay for? Well that is just like the Japanese military killing 2000 people at Pearl Harbor. Why don’t you people get down off of your cross for a moment and take a close look at what it is you are actually saying.

Take this Chick-Fil-A fiasco. Thousands and thousands of Christians show up at a so-so fried chicken establishment to show solidarity with its oppressed multi-millionaire CEO. This poor trod upon man has suffered the indignity of being told that his hateful comments about gay Americans and their rights are undignified. Some evil liberal mayors even issued totally powerless threats to block their restaurants from their cities! It’s almost as if…PEOPLE LIKE GAY PEOPLE

 

As an atheist and an American citizen (reluctantly) I think I have a much better case to make regarding oppression. I am the most hated minority in the country. Several states ban me from office (even though it is unconstitutional to do so). I am told on a daily basis that my “kind” are immoral denizens of Gomorrah with the blood of babies on their hands (and I am only slightly exaggerating on that last point). We are told that Americans would more likely elect Vladimir Putin president than an atheist, and every bad thing that happens, from school shootings to loosing your car keys, are blamed on us godless heathens and our attempt to remove Christianity from the heart of of American culture. That being said, I do not in any way feel oppressed. I have the law on my side. The law that says that WE ARE ALL EQUAL under the law (at least in theory), and I live in a state (Illinois) that does not have the collective IQ of a scooped out turtle shell. But many American atheists are not so lucky. Some of them live in Mississippi!!! That fact is probably a sign of the imminent Christian genocide as well, I am sure.

We have a (badly written) Constitution that recognizes religious pluralism, and a (mostly well written) Bill of Rights that guarantees all of us equality under the law and religious (and non-religious) freedom. This includes Christians…AND ATHEISTS. Gasp. I know. The horror.

So until atheists or Jews or Hindus or Wiccans or Sikhs or Muslims hold the majority of offices, run the majority of businesses and demand that their morality be put front and center in every law, I will politely but firmly ask that Christians SHUT THE HELL UP about being oppressed in this country. Enjoy your shitty hateful chicken.

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5-4 Ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts, Civil rights, Congress, Constitution, Criticism, Democracy, Federalism, Health Care, Individual Mandate, Justice, News, opinion, Politics, Supreme Court

Roberts Court: Healthcare Reform Constitutional

This is going to be a brief post, with a longer opinion to come from my end.

Chief Justice Roberts and the liberal members of the Supreme Court proved today that he does understand the law and illustrated for the nation the fact that differences in opinion and process should not prevent us as a nation from executing laws and regulations that genuinely support the public good. The individual mandate is upheld, and while I have issues with the Affordable Care Act itself, I see this as a validation of the process of reform and a great starting point for the continual improvement of a common sense and human healthcare service structure for the entire nation. This decision can be used as a justification for a constructive and pragmatic process of health insurance reform. The court has upheld the idea that the government can and indeed should be a instrument of progressive societal improvement and reform. I have included the opinion and the dissents below. I highly suggest you all read it in full. It is worth the read.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

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Constitution, Criticism, Democracy, essay, Freedom, Gay Marriage, LGTBQA, Socialism

Towards a Contemporary Socialism: Gay Marriage

How then can we achieve a measure of freedom? Indeed what is the freedom that we seek? And what issues best illustrate the greater state of servitude that we call “conventional mores”? I do not have the answers to these questions, but in asking them I believe we can take an important step in the right direction. One issue stands out to me as a perfect microcosm of the problem of freedom of people in a society that defines freedom as the whims and opportunities available to those with the most power and authority: The pursuit of the freedom to have the laws and opportunities of the nation apply equally to all. The freedom to codify and legitimize conjugal relationships and to access the benefits offered to these relationships is one chief controversy that faces our “American Society”.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. The first section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution purports to codify in law equality of all “citizens” subscribing to member ship in the society at large. Such is the current plight of gay people in the United States and in many if not most regions around the world. The American state of California became the latest to succumb to anti-homosexual fear and paranoia. This fear is backed up for many by some ancient attitudes to homosexuality as described in the Old Testament. Of course this Biblical justification is just that of course: justification for irrational fear that is based on the human predisposition to fear that which is different or difficult to understand. Cultural morality derives in most part from a fear that arose at some point in the past. Fear is of course subjective, but it is also a contagion that spreads down through societies generation by generation until those who are fearful cannot for the life of them remember why in the world they are so afraid.

But that is a matter for another time.

Whatever the reason for their disapproval it led to law that banned homosexual (and all other “non-traditional” forms of) marriage from being recognized or performed within the State. This has the effect of barring gay couples from receiving over 1,000 state and federal government benefits bestowed upon married heterosexuals. This “free and democratic process” reveals an obvious truth: democracy is in no measure absolutely conducive to individual freedom. Much like the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution Section 7a of the California State Constitution says that “A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws”. On its face then Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in California violates the Constitution of the same. This ridicules state of affairs is only possible in a system that values the fearful and the powerful over the basic rights and needs of the relatively powerless. Note that those violated by the concept of the capitalistic acquisition power can be a minority or a majority group as the situation dictates.

In either case the concerns of a group of fearful individuals manipulating the fears of a larger group can lead to tragedy for another group.

The question must also be asked: what do those who voted yes on Proposition 8 gain by their electoral victory? At the most they can claim to have protected the traditions of the society. More likely they gain a moment of calm in the face of inevitable change. This existential acquisition pales in comparison to the very real loss suffered by same-sex couples (it is an inconvenient fact that acquisition for one leads to loss for many others). They lose the right to be make medical decisions for each other, and they lose access to various tax and entitlement benefits. But, most significant, gay Americans lose their equality under the law.

Once a claim to a basic human right emerges it is only a matter of time before that right is granted by the society at large. This was most recently and relevantly illustrated in the United States by the African-American Civil Rights movement of the second half of the 20th century. Much like it is with the oceans the tides of human rights cannot be halted or denied, even if on occasion they recede. Some decry as fatuous or even racist the comparison between the current struggle by gay Americans for equal protection under the to the Civil Rights movement. Why? Because bias based on sex is inherently less insidious then that based on skin color? The problem with the comparison is thus only one of degree and not substance as claimed by the detractors. In the United States one of the most revered concepts is the concept of universal equality. Those who hold power in the Nation by the use of Capitalistic Power acquisition would no long hold the authority that they do if the concept were as revered in practice as it is in concept. Therefore the happiness and rights of Homosexual Americans are enslaved by the more pressing right of those who have acquired power to wield it unhindered to bring about whatever state of affairs that they desire. This is an unjust state of affairs. We must ask ourselves what is more important: the momentary existential discomfort of one segment of the power structure or the bestowal of basic human rights and dignity to a relatively powerless minority?

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Allen West, Congress, Criticism, Democracy, essay, extremism, Florida, News, opinion, Politics, racism, War, War Crimes

Rep. Allen West (War Criminal-FL)

“If I am in that same situation, I am making that same decision [again].”1 So said Congressman Allen West in response to a question about his non-judicial conviction under an Article 15 of the Universal Code of Military Justice Proceeding for the beating and terrorizing of an unarmed captive. West was fined $5000 and had the incident was put in his permanent military record. Prosecutors made it clear at the time that the actions West was accused of could have been referred to a general Court Martial proceeding. According to CNN.com reporting from 2003, “military prosecutors said his actions amounted to torture and violated articles 128 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice”Military Prosecutor Capt. Magdalena Pezytulska believed that West, who was a Lt. Colonel serving in action in Iraq at the time, should have been tried for assault that essentially amounted to torture and for threatening further torture and loss of life. Capt. Peztulska went on to say that  “This is a case about a man who lost his temper,” and that West should be punished for his actions.2

What happened that day in Iraq that led to such serious questions about the stability and judgment of this officer who would go on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian officer in the Iraqi Police force, was accused by a military intelligence officer of being involved with/having knowledge of an alleged plan to attack West and the troops in his command. West detained and interrogated the man and, not getting the information he wanted to hear, and admitting that the interrogation was “going nowhere”, West decided to up the ante and purposefully threaten the man with physical violence. West told is men that the man was not to be killed or harmed in any way “that he would have to be repaired” (whatever that means) but added that the situation he was initiating ”could get ugly,”.3

Things then went as you would expect in a situation involving a fearful armed man with power over an unarmed captive. “[West] watched four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body.” Already West had already allowed what amounted to a War Crime to be committed. Under Part I, Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in a Time of War, “there shall be no “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture” perpetrated against a civilian or civilian official. There is no exception given even when that civilian is “suspected” of planning an attack on armed forces.4 But the abuse didn’t stop there. After this beating West took Mr. Hamoodi, placed him next to an empty barrel outside and discharged his firearm into the barrel and right next to Hamoodi’s head. The man had no reason to believe that he was going to survive this experience and he did indeed fear for his life. West later admitted that he wanted Hamoodi to think that ”this was going to be the end”, in reference to the abuse he subjected the man to.5

After this incident the Lt. Colonel, who seemingly had a bright career ahead of him, suddenly decided it was in his best interest to retire from the armed forces. After he did so he moved back to his native Florida and tried to put the disgraceful incident behind him. If only that had remained the case. In 2010 West ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives. He styled himself as a brash Tea Party conservative who had no regrets for what he did to terrify and abuse a man who turned out not to be involved in an attack that never took place. As noted above, West even bragged about what he did, and never showed an ounce of regret or remorse for the shame he brought upon the US and the military.

Now that I have the facts out of the way, I can really start tearing into this scumbag.

If West restricted his violence against human decency and the good name of the Congress and the people it represents to the events listed above, that would be enough in my book to disqualify him from ever “serving” the public in an official capacity. Alas, West seems to go out of his way to bring shame to everyone and everything he touches. Below is just a sample of the horrible things he has done and said while in office

 

On Obama voters: “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”

 

Regarding women who combat misogyny and campaign for equal rights: “[S]trengthen up the men who are going to the fight for you… these planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.”

 

On his own Heterosexuality: “I like to, you know, ride my motorcycle. What do you want me to do? You want me to change my behavior and ride a scooter? I’m not into that.”

 

On Gay Americans and their Rights:

“People Can Change Their Behavior, but I Can’t Change My Color”

“Gay marriage is an oxymoron”

 

On the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: “Now is not the time to appease a very small special interest group and I’ll leave it at that.”

 

On a private pool being forced to build a lift and ramp for disabled patrons in order to comply with the American’s With Disabilities Act:

“I have talked with and received letters from several South Florida hotels saying this is a wasteful exercise that will cost Florida businesses a lot of money and accomplish nothing.”

 

On Black Democratic voters: “I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that [Democratic Party] plantation.”

 

On his fellow Congress members who vote to get out of Afghanistan: “I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.”

 

On allowing some to…Ride his motorcycle? “That would be like touching my wife.”

 

And this is just SOME of the vitriol and hate this disgrace to the USA has spewed since being elected to office. I can only hope that Florida comes to its’ senses and votes out this misogynist, homophobic, disrespectful, racist war criminal.

  1. http://crooksandliars.com/blue-texan/allen-west-r-fl-brags-about-torturing-i
  2. http://articles.cnn.com/2003-12-12/us/sprj.nirq.west.ruling_1_allen-west-iraqi-detainee-military-justice?_s=PM:US
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/world/struggle-for-iraq-interrogations-colonel-risked-his-career-menacing-detainee.html?scp=1&sq=How%20Colonel%20Risked%20His%20Career%20by%20Menacing%20Detainee%20and%20Lost&st=nyt
  4. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Human_Rights/geneva1.html
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/world/struggle-for-iraq-interrogations-colonel-risked-his-career-menacing-detainee.html?scp=1&sq=How%20Colonel%20Risked%20His%20Career%20by%20Menacing%20Detainee%20and%20Lost&st=nyt
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